Thursday, September 23, 2010

Annual Block Party at Bob's House!

Ron and I were able to attend this year's annual block party in Long Beach where good friends Bob & Margaret live.

Bob is a friend of Ron's from music school in the late 80s. He plays bass and graciously maintains a relationship with us over the years and miles.

Margaret is a fantastic woman who takes good care of the band with food and beverages while managing her children, socializing with neighbors and participating in games.

She and Bob have four young and bright kids who are very talented.

Each year, they get a city permit and block of the street for a day.

Neighbors organize games for the kids. A local family prepares and serves delicious traditional tacos with all the fixin's. Some folks set up tables with food and beverages.

But the main attraction for us is the music.

Ron went to Musician's Institute in Hollywood with Bob (pictured to the left) and a few other musicians who may or may not attend each year's block party.

The photo above features the musical team (L to R):

Mike R. on guitar (and keyboard), Larry S. on guitar, Jim on drums (keyboard also), Bob R. on bass, neighbor Chris on percussion, and Ron on guitar.

Let's talk about Bob!

Like all these musicians, he is versatile and willing to try just about any rock song, 50s through 80s.

Also, he sings a lot of songs either lead vocal or harmony.

Very talented and fun to be with on stage.

Bob's nickname: Answer Man.

To the left:

Larry, another Musician's Institute pal.

This guy plays and sings a massive variety of songs: rock, country, Beatles, etc.

He is a stalwart at the annual block party.

Larry is easy to work with, a real professional.

I found out in Bob & Margaret's kitchen this year that Larry has a good sense of humor, too!

Okay, Mike.

It's difficult to get started with Mike.

No! I mean, he is very talented and so it is challenging to describe him in a small space like this blog post.

Suffice to say, Mike plays guitar.

Mike sings.

Mike plays keyboard.

Mike is a ton of fun on stage and will try just about any song the band suggests.

Did I mention that he is unafraid to show his effusive personality and love for stage drama?! Quite entertaining.

Now, on to Jim M., yet another Musician's Institute buddy.

First, Jim's nickname is Question Man.

He plays keyboard and drums.

He sings and provides harmonies.

Jim will pick up a tambourine or other hand percussion and play while hammering out chords or a melody on the keyboard with the other hand.

He has a dry sense of humor to accompany his understated performing style.

I think it's pretty obvious that I have a little crush on Jim.

I hope his girlfriend is okay with that. I AM happily married!

Speaking of that...

Ron mostly plays guitar at the block party events. He also sings both lead and harmony.

But he will happily fill in on drums or percussion or keyboard. If there was a trumpet on stage, he would play it.

His guitar playing is so tasteful... it's SICK!

The other musicians know it, too.

Not to brag or play favorites, but he's my husband and he's my favorite.

And moi? Well, yeah, the old boys' club let me sit in this year. I sang a couple of "girl" songs, played flute on two tunes, and even strummed guitar a few times.

Also, no one takes pictures of me but it's okay because it's not my gig.

But, one time that afternoon, I opened my song book to follow guitar chords for a tune and a band member who shall remain nameless on this post said, "No charts!"

I eyeballed two other musicians who were both occasionally peaking at charts, then looked back at the commenter. I shot him my middle finger and that was the end of that!

All in all, Ron and I have a good time at the block party. Bob and Margaret and their kids are a total blast. They are hugely generous people. And all the musicians are talented and fun to play music with for an afternoon of "How about 'Black Magic Woman'" (or fill in the blank with another classic rock song).

We get to hang out with an amazing and fun family, musicians and neighborhood folks and kids. And we make music "for the fun of it," which is good now and then...!

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